One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An impure variety of opal of a dull greyish or brownish colour, occurring as round or flattened concretions; a nodule of this material.
Early 19th century. From French ménilite (H. B. de Saussure in J. C. de la Métherie Théorie de la Terre III. 461) from ménil- (in Ménilmontant (given by de Saussure as Mesnil-Montant), the name of a district of Paris where the stone is found) + -ite.
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